MR Vennix from the Association of British Bookmakers makes a number of valid points regarding the presence of bookmakers on our high streets (Letters November 12).
But they don’t necessarily reassure those who are concerned about the stealth expansion of them in local shopping areas.
It may surprise many people, but almost half of all local bookmakers’ profits probably come from the fixed odd gaming machines (with stakes of up to £100) they now have in the shops. These are limited under the 2005 Gaming Act to just four per shop.
Because of that, there is an incentive for the shops to cluster – you can have eight machines if you have two shops in close proximity, for example, but you can’t have eight in one shop.
As bookmakers are in the same planning class as the likes of banks and building societies, they don’t require ‘change of use’ planning permission either, hence the speed with which they are appearing in so many areas.
The Government has just announced a review of the licensing of gaming machines in bookmakers, and I hope it will enable licensing regimes in the local council to take the concentration of betting shops into account.
Blackpool North and Cleveleys
IN response to Eileen Goodwin’s comments on transient people (Letters November 14), there was no room at the inn for this Scottish couple.
They had not mugged or murdered anyone.
Their crime was to come to Blackpool penniless and commit a petty crime.
With all the social and family problems, more people are on the move today. In the past one could always get a bed for the night and a hot meal and some help and support.
Today, life is a lot harsher for many transient people because the services are reduced.
I hope the Scottish couple will continue on their journey and find somewhere nice to stay, get jobs and start a new life.
MRS P. O’Connor,
THE recent election of police and crime commissioners was, as predicted, a farce with an average turnout of under 15 per cent nationwide.
This at a minimum cost of £75m.
None of the highly paid incumbents of the new posts has any democratic legitimacy.
And I thought we were in a serious economic recession.
DR BARRY CLAYTON,